Need a pair of top quality binoculars... Any suggestions? e.g. Where to try the best names out [Lond

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Shiperton Henethe, Aug 4, 2003.

  1. Hi

    I want to buy a really decent pair of binoculars.
    I'll go upto about GBP 500-700 if I have to.

    I'm going to be doing hillwalking/birdwatching.
    And I want something that (in order of priority):

    a) is light in weight!

    b) I can look through for several minutes at at
    time without eyestrain

    c) Is atleast x10 magnification. (Yes I'll take my chances
    and go above x8, thank you!)

    d) Good quality sharp image (I have good eyes)
    without too much internal reflections too.

    d) Has a reasonably wide field of view.
    (Say 300ft at 1000yds)


    Also
    - I am not planning to use them at night.
    - I dont need them to be waterproof (as this
    seems to sacrifice weight).
    - I dont wear glasses
    - Yes x10! - I shall normally support the glasses
    on a solid object whilst using.
    - Must be atleast *fairly* easy to use. (i.e. exit
    diameter shouldnt be *too* minute!!)


    Can anyone make any recommendations?
    Are there any idependent reviews available online?

    I have tried the bid camera names like
    Olympus and even Nikon, but (sorry!) their optics frankly
    aren't up to it.

    I currently have a surprisingly good pair of old
    Zeiss Jena 10x50s but they weigh a tonne,
    plus the image could be better...

    I think the only real answer is to try out a number
    of them myself. Anyone know a big retailer
    that has a decent *range* of top names for us to try
    anywhere in Central London?

    (I dunno... Leica, Zeiss, Swarovski, Bausch and Lomb,
    and maybe Nikon?)

    With thanks



    Ship
    Shiperton Henethe

    P.S. Bit lost between the differenc
     
    Shiperton Henethe, Aug 4, 2003
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Shiperton Henethe

    Orrie Guest

    My son-in-law is a naturist guide in Hawaii, and during a birding trip with
    him to a rain forest, I tried a pair of Nikon 10x42 Premier LX binoculars
    that were far superior in image quality, brightness and eye relief (I wear
    tri-focal eyeglasses) to the Canon binocs I had. They also focused down to
    10 feet! The field of view was greater than 300', which made it easy to spot
    birds and track them on the wing.

    I found them extremely easy to hold steady; not just for a 10x
    magnification, but compared to my 8x Canons. I can't say why for sure.

    The bad news is that they sell for about $1000 in New York (Nikon's list
    price is about $1500), which may be a stretch above your price range.

    The body is magnesium to reduce weight, but they are roof prism (solid
    glass) rather than porro-prism (essentially mirrors), and they are
    waterproof and fogproof (essential in the rain forest environment), so they
    are not featherweights. But their heft may contribute to their being so easy
    to hold steady.

    If you don't need the light gathering power of 42mm lenses, you might want
    to see if Nikon makes a 10x35 version.

    Orrie


    "Shiperton Henethe" <> wrote in message
    news:3f2e5ca2$0$10775$...
    > Hi
    >
    > I want to buy a really decent pair of binoculars.
    > I'll go upto about GBP 500-700 if I have to.
    >
    > I'm going to be doing hillwalking/birdwatching.
    > And I want something that (in order of priority):
    >
    > a) is light in weight!
    >
    > b) I can look through for several minutes at at
    > time without eyestrain
    >
    > c) Is atleast x10 magnification. (Yes I'll take my chances
    > and go above x8, thank you!)
    >
    > d) Good quality sharp image (I have good eyes)
    > without too much internal reflections too.
    >
    > d) Has a reasonably wide field of view.
    > (Say 300ft at 1000yds)
    >
    >
    > Also
    > - I am not planning to use them at night.
    > - I dont need them to be waterproof (as this
    > seems to sacrifice weight).
    > - I dont wear glasses
    > - Yes x10! - I shall normally support the glasses
    > on a solid object whilst using.
    > - Must be atleast *fairly* easy to use. (i.e. exit
    > diameter shouldnt be *too* minute!!)
    >
    >
    > Can anyone make any recommendations?
    > Are there any idependent reviews available online?
    >
    > I have tried the bid camera names like
    > Olympus and even Nikon, but (sorry!) their optics frankly
    > aren't up to it.
    >
    > I currently have a surprisingly good pair of old
    > Zeiss Jena 10x50s but they weigh a tonne,
    > plus the image could be better...
    >
    > I think the only real answer is to try out a number
    > of them myself. Anyone know a big retailer
    > that has a decent *range* of top names for us to try
    > anywhere in Central London?
    >
    > (I dunno... Leica, Zeiss, Swarovski, Bausch and Lomb,
    > and maybe Nikon?)
    >
    > With thanks
    >
    >
    >
    > Ship
    > Shiperton Henethe
    >
    > P.S. Bit lost between the differenc
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
     
    Orrie, Aug 4, 2003
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. In article <bglqei$9uh$>,
    "Orrie" <> wrote:

    > My son-in-law is a naturist guide in Hawaii, and during a birding trip with
    > him to a rain forest, I tried a pair of Nikon 10x42 Premier LX binoculars
    > that were far superior in image quality, brightness and eye relief (I wear
    > tri-focal eyeglasses) to the Canon binocs I had.


    I hope they didn't chafe or collide with anything important.
     
    Simon Gardner, Aug 4, 2003
    #3
  4. Shiperton Henethe

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "Shiperton Henethe" <> writes:
    > I want to buy a really decent pair of binoculars. I'll go upto
    > about GBP 500-700 if I have to.
    >
    > I'm going to be doing hillwalking/birdwatching. And I want
    > something that (in order of priority):


    Take a look at <http://www.betterviewdesired.com> which is devoted
    to that question.

    Basically, for a small 10x, they rave about the Nikon Venturer LX 10x32.

    http://www.betterviewdesired.com/10-02/nikon.html

    > - Yes x10! - I shall normally support the glasses
    > on a solid object whilst using.


    How are you going to do that? Bring a tripod?

    If you're going to hand-hold the binoculars then IMO the Canon IS
    10x30 is light years ahead of everything else. Just trying one in a
    store for about 2 seconds was enough to convince me of that.
     
    Paul Rubin, Aug 4, 2003
    #4
  5. Hi,
    I have the Nikon Superior E 8x32. Sharp, high-contrast and flat-field.
    I can see M51 and M101 from a 5.8 magnitude sky. Will keep them forever!
    The only bad thing is that it's not water-proof and a bit heavy.
    Perfect for birding. For astronomy go with the 10x42.

    See URL: http://www.betterviewdesired.com/RefSet.html

    /Roger
     
    Roger Persson, Aug 4, 2003
    #5
  6. Shiperton Henethe

    Paul Guest

    Shiperton Henethe <> wrote in message
    news:3f2e5ca2$0$10775$...
    > Hi
    >
    > I want to buy a really decent pair of binoculars.
    > I'll go upto about GBP 500-700 if I have to.
    >
    > I'm going to be doing hillwalking/birdwatching.
    > And I want something that (in order of priority):
    >
    > a) is light in weight!
    >
    > b) I can look through for several minutes at at
    > time without eyestrain
    >
    > c) Is atleast x10 magnification. (Yes I'll take my chances
    > and go above x8, thank you!)
    >
    > d) Good quality sharp image (I have good eyes)
    > without too much internal reflections too.
    >
    > d) Has a reasonably wide field of view.
    > (Say 300ft at 1000yds)
    >


    Since you've got the cash have a look at,

    Swarovski SLC
    Leica BN
    Opticron DBA

    Try anything before you buy.

    If you find one you like check the prices in the Birwatching magazines to
    see if you can get them cheaper, if you ask a lot retailers will match the
    prices of those in Birdwatching magazines.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Aug 4, 2003
    #6
  7. In article <3f2e5ca2$0$10775$>,
    "Shiperton Henethe" <> wrote:



    >
    > (I dunno... Leica, Zeiss, Swarovski, Bausch and Lomb,
    > and maybe Nikon?)
    >
    > With thanks
    >


    I've owned a pair of Leica (Leitz) 10X50s for several years now, and
    absolutely love them. The mechanical build quality is better than
    anything else out there with the possible exception of the Swarovski.
    Optically, the Zeiss, Swarovski and Leitz are of equal quality, and all
    are better glass than any porros produced by the Japanese.

    The bottom line on any of these three are how they fit in your
    particular hands. All are within your price point. Good luck, and have
    fun trying them all- a really fine binocular will provide a lifetime of
    enjoyment.

    Starry Skies,
    Rich
     
    Richard DeLuca, Aug 5, 2003
    #7
  8. Shiperton Henethe

    John Navas Guest

    [POSTED TO rec.photo.digital - REPLY ON USENET PLEASE]

    In <> on Tue, 05
    Aug 2003 03:52:17 GMT, Richard DeLuca <> wrote:

    >I've owned a pair of Leica (Leitz) 10X50s for several years now, and
    >absolutely love them. The mechanical build quality is better than
    >anything else out there with the possible exception of the Swarovski.
    >Optically, the Zeiss, Swarovski and Leitz are of equal quality, and all
    >are better glass than any porros produced by the Japanese.


    My own opinion is that my Minolta roof prism binoculars have superb optical
    quality at far less cost. I care not for big names, just results. For that
    matter, Olympus binoculars on eBay are an incredible bargain.

    --
    Best regards,
    John Navas
    [PLEASE NOTE: Ads belong *only* in rec.photo.marketplace.digital, as per
    <http://bobatkins.photo.net/info/charter.htm> <http://rpdfaq.50megs.com/>]
     
    John Navas, Aug 5, 2003
    #8
  9. Shiperton Henethe

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Richard DeLuca <> writes:
    > Fine binoculars, yes, and perhaps a bargain or even a 'best buy.' And I
    > meant to say 'roof prism' rather than porro. But I still stand by my
    > original statement that Zeiss, Swarovski and Leitz are the finest roof
    > prism binos. They deserve their reputation.


    Do you have an opinion of the Nikon Premier series? They have gotten
    extremely good reviews, right up there with Zeiss. I tried some in
    the store and thought they were great, but am not experienced enough
    to compare them intelligently to the Leitz and Zeiss binoculars that I
    also tried.

    I forgot to mention in my earlier post that they have a 10x25 which is
    very reasonably priced (around $300) for top-end binoculars with phase
    coating and all that.
     
    Paul Rubin, Aug 5, 2003
    #9
  10. In article <3f2fbf9c$0$10780$>,
    "Shiperton Henethe" <> wrote:

    > Swarovski is a new name to me where are they from?


    Austria.

    Generally thought to be superior to Zeiss and Leica. But in any case all
    three are way ahead of all others. If you are looking for the best quality
    then you will only find it amongst these three. The real test is in poor
    light BTW
     
    Simon Gardner, Aug 5, 2003
    #10
  11. Shiperton Henethe

    kpfeif Guest

    "Shiperton Henethe" <> wrote in message news:<3f2e5ca2$0$10775$>...
    > Hi
    >
    > I want to buy a really decent pair of binoculars.
    > I'll go upto about GBP 500-700 if I have to.
    >
    > I'm going to be doing hillwalking/birdwatching.
    > And I want something that (in order of priority):
    >
    > a) is light in weight!
    >
    > b) I can look through for several minutes at at
    > time without eyestrain
    >
    > c) Is atleast x10 magnification. (Yes I'll take my chances
    > and go above x8, thank you!)
    >
    > d) Good quality sharp image (I have good eyes)
    > without too much internal reflections too.
    >
    > d) Has a reasonably wide field of view.
    > (Say 300ft at 1000yds)
    >
    >


    Mmmmmm....Zeiss and Leica. Fantastic optics.

    Also, I've looked at the Pentax DCF binoculars - very nice, as well.
     
    kpfeif, Aug 5, 2003
    #11
  12. Shiperton Henethe

    Guest

    I have a pair of Canon 10X30 Image Stabilizer binos. They're great.
    We've taken them everywhere, including the tropics. Only problem we've
    had (which Canon repaired) was the scratches on the lens caused by
    chaffing from our eyeglasses when the eyecup rubber was rolled down..
    The stabilized image works remarkably well. Great for soaring hawks or
    plane spotting. Also very handy for seeing detail on shorebirds. But
    they have a fairly narrow field of view.

    My main birding bino for several years has been the Nikon Venturer LX
    10X42. Paid close to $1100 from Eagle Optics when they first came out.
    They have fantastic optics. But more recently, I'm using the new Nikon
    Venturer LX 8X32. This is a smaller bino and it has the same wonderful
    optics. But more important for me, it has a 7.8-degree, very bright
    and flat field of view. I can actually follow a bird flying through
    the puckerbrush, something more difficult with the 10-power optics.

    Before buying them I compared them with Swarovski and Leica 8X32 binos
    and found them more to my liking. Plus, less expensive.
    I got mine for $560 from CameraLand.com.

    Read a review of these new binos at
    http://www.betterviewdesired.com/10-02/nikon.html
     
    , Aug 5, 2003
    #12
  13. Shiperton Henethe

    Shelly Guest

    Re: Need a pair of top quality binoculars... Any suggestions? e.g. Whereto try the best names out [London]!

    Canon IS 10x30 -- fantastic. So incredible that
    I got a bunch of OOHs and AAHs when I passed
    them around at a recent outing. Folks couldn't
    believe how steady and bright they were. If I had
    it to do over, I might even consider the 15s.

    Shelly
     
    Shelly, Aug 5, 2003
    #13
  14. In article <bgp03u$ihd$>,
    "Paul" <> wrote:

    > Simon Gardner <[dot]co[dot]uk> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > > In article <3f2fbf9c$0$10780$>,
    > > "Shiperton Henethe" <> wrote:
    > >
    > > > Swarovski is a new name to me where are they from?

    > >
    > > Austria.
    > >
    > > Generally thought to be superior to Zeiss and Leica. But in any case all
    > > three are way ahead of all others. If you are looking for the best quality
    > > then you will only find it amongst these three. The real test is in poor
    > > light BTW
    > >
    > >

    >
    > Yep, but if your not using them in poor light then many cheaper binoculars
    > will suffice.
    >
    > As always birdwatching mags can't wait to promote the flashy/pricey kit.
    > But not everyone can afford £700 for a pair bins or £1000 plus on a scope.
    > Its like car magazines concentrating on Mercedes, BMW and Lexus and ignoring
    > Fiats, Ford and Volkswagon.


    He said "top quality". If he'd wanted down to a price OK-ish ones, I'm sure
    he would have said something different.
     
    Simon Gardner, Aug 5, 2003
    #14
  15. In article <>,
    Paul Rubin <http://> wrote:

    > Richard DeLuca <> writes:
    > > Fine binoculars, yes, and perhaps a bargain or even a 'best buy.' And I
    > > meant to say 'roof prism' rather than porro. But I still stand by my
    > > original statement that Zeiss, Swarovski and Leitz are the finest roof
    > > prism binos. They deserve their reputation.

    >
    > Do you have an opinion of the Nikon Premier series? They have gotten
    > extremely good reviews, right up there with Zeiss. I tried some in
    > the store and thought they were great, but am not experienced enough
    > to compare them intelligently to the Leitz and Zeiss binoculars that I
    > also tried.
    >
    > I forgot to mention in my earlier post that they have a 10x25 which is
    > very reasonably priced (around $300) for top-end binoculars with phase
    > coating and all that.



    If I came across as knowledgeable about all binoculars, I'm not. I own
    4 pairs, of different sizes, all bought over the years from Wall Street
    Camera in New York. I knew one of the owners pretty well, and he would
    let me take two or three different brands home at the same time, so that
    I might compare them and make an informed decision. I always wound up
    liking the Leicas best.

    I do know that Nikon makes some beautiful equipment, but have not tested
    any in recent years. If you like them as much or more than the Zeiss,
    and you have seen very favorable reviews from respected sources, why not
    just take the plunge? Better yet, see if you can take a couple pair
    home with you. Some stores will do that, just taking back the pair you
    decide not to keep. Try them in daylight, twilight, and under the stars
    if you intend to use them for astronomy.

    Starry Skies,
    Rich
     
    Richard DeLuca, Aug 6, 2003
    #15
  16. Shiperton Henethe

    Jim Guest

    Like new pair of Zeiss here:

    http://www.commspeed.net/jimbo/scopes.htm
    "Richard DeLuca" <> wrote in message news:eek:...
    In article <>,
    Paul Rubin <http://> wrote:

    > Richard DeLuca <> writes:
    > > Fine binoculars, yes, and perhaps a bargain or even a 'best buy.' And I
    > > meant to say 'roof prism' rather than porro. But I still stand by my
    > > original statement that Zeiss, Swarovski and Leitz are the finest roof
    > > prism binos. They deserve their reputation.

    >
    > Do you have an opinion of the Nikon Premier series? They have gotten
    > extremely good reviews, right up there with Zeiss. I tried some in
    > the store and thought they were great, but am not experienced enough
    > to compare them intelligently to the Leitz and Zeiss binoculars that I
    > also tried.
    >
    > I forgot to mention in my earlier post that they have a 10x25 which is
    > very reasonably priced (around $300) for top-end binoculars with phase
    > coating and all that.



    If I came across as knowledgeable about all binoculars, I'm not. I own
    4 pairs, of different sizes, all bought over the years from Wall Street
    Camera in New York. I knew one of the owners pretty well, and he would
    let me take two or three different brands home at the same time, so that
    I might compare them and make an informed decision. I always wound up
    liking the Leicas best.

    I do know that Nikon makes some beautiful equipment, but have not tested
    any in recent years. If you like them as much or more than the Zeiss,
    and you have seen very favorable reviews from respected sources, why not
    just take the plunge? Better yet, see if you can take a couple pair
    home with you. Some stores will do that, just taking back the pair you
    decide not to keep. Try them in daylight, twilight, and under the stars
    if you intend to use them for astronomy.

    Starry Skies,
    Rich
     
    Jim, Aug 6, 2003
    #16
  17. Shiperton Henethe

    Brian L Guest

    Brian L, Aug 6, 2003
    #17
  18. On Mon, 4 Aug 2003 14:19:09 +0100, "Shiperton Henethe" <> ...reflected:

    >Hi
    >
    >I want to buy a really decent pair of binoculars.
    >I'll go upto about GBP 500-700 if I have to.


    <snip>

    The Pentax WP 10x50's shouldn't disappoint,
    and for about US$125.

    <snip>

    Alan
     
    Alan W. Craft, Aug 6, 2003
    #18
  19. Shiperton Henethe

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Alan W. Craft <> writes:
    > The Pentax WP 10x50's shouldn't disappoint,
    > and for about US$125.


    The OP wanted a lightweight pair for daytime use. 10x50 would be
    ridiculous. He wanted maybe 10x25 or 10x32.
     
    Paul Rubin, Aug 6, 2003
    #19
  20. "Simon Gardner" <[dot]co[dot]uk> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In article <3f2fbf9c$0$10780$>,
    > "Shiperton Henethe" <> wrote:
    >
    > > Swarovski is a new name to me where are they from?

    >
    > Austria.
    >
    > Generally thought to be superior to Zeiss and Leica. But in any case all
    > three are way ahead of all others. If you are looking for the best quality
    > then you will only find it amongst these three. The real test is in poor
    > light BTW
    >


    1. What about Nikons?
    I'm not overly worried about poor lighting conditions
    but I am *extremely* fussy about basic quality of the
    optics (resolution, lens flare, chromatic abberation etc.)

    Interestingly this guy seems to rate Nikon's
    top lenses above anything else (!):
    http://www.betterviewdesired.com/NkSup.html
    And he's certainly tried out several binocs!


    2. What type of prism?
    He also says that porro prisms out perform
    roofs - though I presume they weigh more
    and this could be a problem for me.
    - any views?


    3. My *main* interest is either viewing birds of prey
    or scanning the magnificant view whilst doing extreme
    hill-walking. IMHO, there is little point in having a top
    quality lens unless you can support/steady them
    and I usually find a way to do so.

    With that in mind, has anyone ever tried a decent
    pair of x12s with a wide field of view?!
    (Controversial or what!!)

    4. What about wide field x12s?!
    e.g.
    Leica Trinovid BN (12x50) Binoculars
    are too heavy for me (40.6 oz) but they
    have a field of view of "*328* ft @ 1000 yds"
    so seeing birds in flight shouldnt be
    too difficult! No doubt it would jump
    around enough to make you feel a bit sick but
    if you can stabilise the image and rest it on
    something you then have a fabulous magnification too...

    (I am trying to avoid having to carry a scope
    as well so the extra magn would be most welcome!)

    Please dont shout at me... has anyone actually
    *tried* such high power *and* wide field of view
    binocs for birding...?


    Ship
    Shiperton Henethe
     
    Shiperton Henethe, Aug 6, 2003
    #20
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